Up to 80,000 jobs could be created and the country’s GDP boosted by €3.9bn if the Government creates a policy framework that enables more cleantech industries to be developed, according to a report.
Report authors Ernst and Young are calling for a national cleantech framework and implementation plan which will attract investment in the sector.
Globally, cleantech is worth €5trn as governments and companies try and improve their energy security and efficiency.
They are warning Ireland’s competitiveness will be significantly undermined if energy efficiency and renewable energy policies are not pushed ahead by the Government. Such policies would help counteract the effects of energy price volatility.
Cleantech is a term used to describe green products or services that improve operational performance, productivity, or efficiency while reducing costs, inputs, energy consumption, waste, or environmental pollution.
Cleantech companies are a response to increased consumer, regulatory, and industry interest in clean energy generation.
Head of cleantech and sustainability at Ernst and& Young, Barry O’Flynn, said leading cleantech countries have 30-year national policy frameworks in place that provide certainty for investment in renewable production.
“In Denmark, the industry employs 24,000 people, accounts for 8.5% of total Danish exports, and generates approximately €6.91bn.
“In Germany, studies show that the renewable energy sector employed approximately 370,000 people in 2010, and this could rise to over half a million by 2030.”
Stephen Nolan, executive coordinator of the Green IFSC, said Ireland is already emerging as a world leader in green finance with $10bn (€7.66bn) in green assets managed or serviced.
The Green IFSC is charged with accelerating growth in green finance in Ireland. It works with the private sector and investors to grow such projects.
“Irish green asset management and green enterprise firms are active all over the globe in regions as diverse as Asia, South America, South Africa and throughout Europe,” said Mr Nolan. “Last week, we announced that we intend to grow these green assets to $200bn in the coming years.
“We will achieve this by continuing to work in collaboration with policymakers, business and international financial services centre to ensure the optimum business environment for green finance.”
Irish Wind Energy Association chief executive Kenneth Matthews said Ireland needs to export its abundance of renewable energy so other countries can meet their EU targets.
“If the correct actions are taken to create regulatory certainty, deliver infrastructure, create public acceptance and the political will exists, Ireland can become the renewable energy hub for Europe, transforming our economy via cheaper, cleaner and more secure electricity, creating much needed jobs in energy and energy enterprise through the transition.”
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